General Terms and Conditions

General Terms and Condition

Concerning registration and upload of theses for the Graduales Platform as well as participation in the selection for the annual GDG exhibition and the exhibition itself


The upload phase is started and carried out annually by the German Design Graduales Initiative. The selection of a limited number of graduate projects for the annual GDG exhibition is made by an independent, honorary, interdisciplinary jury of experts. The selection of projects and graduates for individual grants is made by the sponsors themselves from the project archive of the current year and at a matchmaking event prior to the exhibition opening based on personal interviews.

The call for proposals aims to support graduates at a very early stage of their professional career – immediately after graduation. GDG wants to make socially and design-related topics that occupy young graduates accessible to a broad public, to show, discuss and promote them in online and offline formats.

§1 Scope 

The following General Terms and Conditions of Business apply to all legal relationships of the German Design Graduales Initiative (hereinafter referred to as the “Organiser”) vis-à-vis the participating graduates (hereinafter referred to as the “Participants”). Participants are deemed to be the graduates who register for the upload and are responsible for the submission of the project. Any terms and conditions deviating from these General Terms and Conditions shall only become effective if the Organizer has expressly confirmed them in writing.

§2 Conditions of participation 

  1. Each year, bachelor, master and diploma graduates from the participating universities who graduated between 1 May of the previous year and 30 April of the current year in the field of product and industrial design, as well as interface students with links to physical objects can submit their theses. In 2020 there will be a change due to the COVID 19 crisis: Graduates with a final date of 1 May 2019 – 30 June 2020 can participate.
  2. Because design is evolving, we welcome projects in the field of classic product design, but explicitly also progressive work in the areas of design & research, UX and service design, material design, social design, speculative design. A physical prototype should be available. If the graduate is selected for the exhibition, this prototype will be displayed in the museum.
  3. Registration is only possible online using the form on the GDG website. Should the online procedure be a barrier for a participant, a separate arrangement can be made with the organizer.
  4. In each university a professor*in GDG is the contact person and receives an access code for uploading the projects. To get access to the form, graduates must contact the contact person at their university. From there you will receive the access code. A list with corresponding contact data can be found under contact persons.
  5. One entry per participant can be registered. Group submissions are possible. A separate application form must be completed for each contribution.
  6. The participant undertakes to answer all questions truthfully and to submit the requested image and text material. All texts must be written in German and English.
  7. Only applications submitted in due time and in the correct form will take part in the competition procedure. The deadlines stated on the GDG website apply. The online application must be completed in full and sent by 23:59 on the closing date.
  8. Prerequisite for the submission of the registration is the acceptance of the GDG privacy policy and terms and conditions.

§3 Disclaimer of liability

Liability for contents
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§3 Participation fee and payment

  1. The registration for uploading your own projects is free of charge for the participants.
  2. Only graduates of the eligible participating universities can participate.
  3. Each participating university pays a contribution towards expenses for the implementation of the annual call and exhibition.
  4. The registration and payment of the university is done by the responsible professor* in advance of the upload period.

§4 Selection procedure Exhibition

  1. After the end of the registration period, the organizer will check all registrations for the presence of the participation requirements and for completeness. Should additional information be required during the procedure, the organizer will request this from the participant. All admitted participants may officially use the GDG logo ‘German Design Graduates’ + current year’.
  2. The organizer reserves the right to place an entry in a category other than the one indicated by the participant if the assignment chosen by the participant proves to be incorrect.
  3. The members of the jury will be determined by the organizer and announced on the GDG website. The expert jury is composed of experts from different design fields: practice, presentation, perspectives, press, culture.
  4. The interdisciplinary, annually changing, independent, honorary expert jury selects projects from all uploaded projects of the current year for the annual exhibition. Depending on the number of submissions, at least 3 theses per university will be selected.
  5. The organizer will forward all applications that meet the participation requirements and are complete to the expert jury, which will evaluate all submissions using the GDG Criteria Matrix Online.
  6. Projects will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
    Impact: The work has social benefits, offers a solution to a problem, initiates and/or causes relevant changes.
    Aesthetics: The work looks attractive and well-groomed; does not overshadow the functionality, shows a good balance between form and function.
    Collaboration: The work originates from collaborations, makes connections and has added value through input from external parties.
    Method of production: The work has been produced responsibly, testifies to the professional use of materials and techniques, is sustainable and/or of high quality.
    Innovation: The work has an innovative character, creates different or additional options, contributes to change processes. The decisive factor is to what extent the design is innovative and/or makes a relevant contribution to society or the world of design.
  7. After the first evaluation, the projects with the highest score will be admitted for further judging.
  8. Those participants whose contributions have not been selected by the expert jury for further participation in the selection process for the exhibition will be informed of this in writing by the organizer.
  9. The jury meeting will take place in several steps:
    In a first step, the expert jury selects a limited number of projects that are eligible for the exhibition. In the second step, the overall thematic complexes to be determined are identified, reflected upon and formulated. In a further step, the participants in the exhibition are selected in combination with the identified overarching thematic complexes. These graduates may officially use the GDG logo ‘Exhibitor’.
  10. Entries in whose development, design or production jury members were directly involved are excluded from the competition. Cooperation in university education is excluded.
  11. The jury meeting is not public. All entries submitted to the jury meeting will be viewed only by the jury members, the organizer and, if applicable, other persons authorized by the organizer.
  12. Decisions of the jury are made by simple majority of votes.
  13. All participants selected for the exhibition will be informed in writing by the organizer about the result of the jury meeting and will be announced in due course on the GDG website, via the newsletter as well as social media channels and the press distribution lists of the organizer and the museum. They will receive the logo “German Design Graduates Exhibitor 2020” for their use. Exhibitors will be informed separately about the next steps.

§5 Exhibition, transport, storage and insurance of the selected projects

  1. The works selected by the jury are shown in an annual museum exhibition. Physical prototypes must be available for this.
  2. The prototypes must remain in the museum for the entire duration of the exhibition.
  3. It is planned to make the exhibition accessible to the press and public. The decision on this will be made by the organiser in consultation with the museum and depending on the spatial conditions and the necessary safety precautions.
  4. The participants are responsible for the delivery and collection of exhibitor projects. They organise the transport and bear the costs for both transport and, if necessary, storage and insurance.
  5. If possible, GDG will centrally take over the transport of the exhibits to and from the respective university locations. This will be explicitly communicated to the universities and exhibitors.
  6. Place and time for delivery and collection will be determined by the organizer and communicated to the participant.
  7. If return by post is agreed, the participant must use reusable transport packaging and enclose instructions for packaging. The costs for the return shipment shall be borne by the participant. In this case the participant must arrange transport insurance himself. The exhibited works will be retained after the jury meeting in order to show them at the award ceremony.
  8. All prototypes travel at the risk of the participant. The organizer does not offer insurance for the entries. If the participant wishes to have insurance, he/she must take out such insurance himself/herself.
  9. The exhibits must be delivered in a presentable form suitable for exhibition (e.g. fully assembled). In the case of products that are delivered in individual parts, assembly on site must be carried out by the participant or by a person appointed by him. The same applies to disassembly on collection. In the case of particularly large and bulky goods, a separate agreement must be made between the organizer and the participant. If this is not possible, precise instructions must be provided. This must be agreed individually with the organizer and may only generate a moderate amount of work. The organizer cannot be held responsible for any damage that occurs during assembly or disassembly.
  10. Video contributions to be shown at the exhibition will be provided to the organizer as data in a form determined by the organizer.

§6 Matchmaking, Awards & Supports

  1. At a matchmaking event prior to the exhibition opening, ambassadors from various fields select outstanding works for self-initiated individual awards & supports. This could be, for example, a green card for the presentation of the work at a trade fair or coaching with a well-known designer. A complete overview for the current year can be found on the GDG website.
  2. To be selected for an Award or Support, personal participation in the Matchmaking Event is mandatory. The ambassadors would like to get to know the graduates personally and get into conversation with them.
  3. The graduates* selected by the ambassadors will be publicly announced and honoured at the award ceremony on the opening day. They will receive a certificate and are allowed to use the logo ‘German Design Graduates + Year + Award / Support’ officially.
  4. The support will be carried out individually and according to a personal agreement between the sponsor and the sponsoring person.
  5. The GDG-Initiative accompanies these supports, but does not assume any guarantee or warranty.
  6. The winner of the GDG Culture Award will receive a prize money of 2500 EURO. This will be paid out by the project sponsor.
  7. The winner of the Social Design Award receives prize money of 500 EURO from the Hans Sauer Foundation. The Hans Sauer Foundation will handle the prize money directly.

§7 Liability 

  1. For the duration of the exhibition, the exhibits are insured directly with the exhibiting museum via an export insurance policy.
  2. The organizer is only liable for damage or loss of an exhibit in the event of intent or gross negligence.
  3. The participant is recommended to take out a transport and exhibition insurance policy to cover any damage, loss or theft during transport.
  4. The organizer is not liable if the rights of third parties are infringed by the participant or his exhibit and does not guarantee that no rights of third parties are infringed by the submitted contributions.

§8 Property rights 

  1. The participant grants the organizer the non-exclusive right of use, unlimited in time, space and content, to all data and information on the participant and on the final thesis (pictures, texts, proofs, certificates etc.) provided in the registration procedure, free of charge. This applies to all types of use in connection with the GDG call for entries: for publication on the Internet, in the newsletter, on social media channels, in printed works, on data carriers, etc. as well as in advertising related to GDG and the call for entries.
  2. The organizer is entitled to make the information and materials provided available to the press and comparable institutions upon request, for the purpose of reporting on German Design Graduates and their work.

§9 Exclusion from the registration procedure | Revocation of the prize

All information provided by the participant must be true. The organizer can exclude participants who have demonstrably given false information about their project or person from the registration procedure. If false information is suspected, the organizer can demand proof from the participant which will exonerate him. If a project is awarded a prize and false information becomes known only after the awarding of the prize, the organizer can withdraw the prize and make this publicly known.

§10 Final provisions 

  1. Place of performance and jurisdiction is Berlin, the law of the Federal Republic of Germany applies exclusively.
  2. Should individual parts of these General Terms and Conditions be or become invalid in whole or in part, the validity of the remaining terms and conditions shall remain unaffected. In this case, the invalid provision shall be replaced by a valid or feasible provision that comes as close as possible to the meaning and purpose of the economic intent. The same applies in the event of a loophole.